Tire maker Continental recently revamped their cyclocross tyres, taking design cues from some of the company’s most successful mountain bike treads.
The £44.95 / US$55 CycloX-King shares the same knob layout as the X-King mountain bike tyre. Like its off-road predecessor, the CycloX-King has two offset rows of tightly spaced center knobs, and intermediate and side knobs that are taller, with more space between them.
The tread pattern performs well over a wide range of conditions, which is the reason this tread was chosen to be the first of Continental’s new tubular cyclocross tyres. Continental’s Black Chili compound does a good job of balancing grip, rolling resistance and durability, and the 160TPI casing provides a relatively supple ride. The actual weight for our 700x32mm test tire was 330g.
The CycloX-King rolls well on hardpack and asphalt, though not as fast as a file tread. When courses are loose, grassy or damp, the numerous knobs provide plenty of bite, and we were impressed with how well the CycloX-King would hold a line on grassy, off-camber sections.
The consistent tread pattern and round profile make for a tire that's easy to lean into corners, with no sense of vagueness transitioning from one set of knobs to the next when carving through turns.
The CycloX-King does a good job of filling the role of an intermediate condition tyre, although there are faster treads for grass crits, and better options for muddy courses.
More space between the knobs would improve the CrossX-King’s ability to shed crud, albeit at the expense of increasing rolling resistance. In any case, Continental has another tyre for truly heinous courses: the Mountain King CX.